Guilin, is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is situated on the west bank of the Li River and borders Hunan to the north. Its name means “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees located in the city.
In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River. During the Qin Dynasty’s (221–207 BC) campaigns against the state of Nanyue, the first administration was set up in the area around Guilin. In AD 507, the town was renamed Guizhou. Guilin prospered in the Tang and Song dynasties but remained a county. The city was also a nexus between the central government and the southwest border, and it was where regular armies were placed to guard that border. Canals were built through the city so that food supplies could be directly transported from the food-productive Yangtze plain to the farthest southwestern point of the empire. In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Sun Yat-sen. In 1940, the city acquired its present name. In 1981, Guilin was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.
The GDP per capita was (¥19435/US$2858) in 2009, ranked no. 125 among 659 Chinese cities. Local industries products are pharmaceutical goods, tires, machinery, fertilizer, silk, perfume, wine, tea, cinnamon, herbal medicine. Local agricultural products are Shatian Pomelo, summer orange, Fructus Momordicae, ginkgo, moon persimmon, Lipu Taro, Sanhua Alcohol, pepper sauce, fermented bean curd, Guilin Rice Noodle, water chestnut, grain, fish and dried bean milk cream in tight rolls. Until 1949 only a thermal power plant, a cement works, and some small textile mills existed as signs of industrialization in Guilin. However, since the 1950s Guilin has electronics, engineering and agricultural equipment, medicine, rubber, and buses, and it also has textile and cotton yarn factories. Food processing, including the processing of local agricultural produce, remains the most important industry. More recent and modern industry feature high technology and the tertiary industry characterized by tourism trading and service.
Places to visit
Central Square 51,400 square meter large gathering place in the centre of town. Here you can watch a giant atlas on the ground and an artificial waterfall every evening at 8:30PM.
Pagoda Hill and Tunnel Hill. Together they form single mountain range as well as a single recreational zone. There’s a plenty of restaurants at the bottom of Pagoda hill. An easy stepped pathway brings you to the Ming dinasty multi-eave Longevity Buddha Pagoda. Another free pathway takes you up the Penetrated Hill. Both hills have very beautiful view of southern Guilin and rustic beds.
Things to do
Two Rivers and Four Lakes Cruise. A boat tour around the four lakes and two rivers of Guilin city. At night, the scenery is spectacularly flood lit. At the mid-point in the tour, there will be a demonstration of traditional cormorant fishing. It is the best activity at night.
Butterfly Cave. A pair of sheer sided mountains surrounded by a butterfly themed park. One of the mountains has a cave running through the core of it. Inside this cave are many strange rock formations including stalagmites and stalactites. One particularly unusual formation is shaped like a butterfly, lending the hill its name. A rope bridge connects from the cave’s exit over to the other mountain. At the side of the bridge, a waterfall cascades down the mountain side.